Sprawling across an area of 176 acres of land, Apple Park is the second campus of the company built in Cupertino, California, being one of the final opuses by then CEO, Steve Jobs. The colossal structure, molded as a ring, symbolizes Apple’s persistent commitment to futuristic design advancements and sustainability.The stakeholders intended to accommodate about 12,000 employees on the expansive campus, called The Ring, located at One Apple Park Way by officially moving them from their initial headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop in 2017.This majestic building incorporates 800 of the world’s most prodigious rounded glass panels, about 45-foot-tall, that environ the four-storeyed structure, a few functioning as humungous sliding doors, allowing spatial interaction between indoor and outdoor spaces.

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Master Plan of Apple Park_©https://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/

Approximately nine thousand drought-resistant trees encompass the entire vicinity of the campus with a central orchard. Apple partnered with First Solar to provide 130MW of solar energy to the campus and surrounding buildings, establishing itself as the greenest office building in the world powered entirely by renewable resources. Being the largest existing naturally-ventilated building, it does not require air conditioning for three-quarters of the year. The project is LEED Platinum-certified and the green spaces have been increased from 20 to 80 percent, with over six kilometers (four miles) of walking and jogging trails. Its landscape and structures blend: the Ring Building, Steve Jobs Theater, Fitness & Wellness Center, Visitors’ Center, and South Parking are all enveloped by flowing greenery that optimizes the buildings as venues to interact, relax, and work.

Steve Jobs purchased the land from his former employer corporation, Hewlett-Packard, and presented avid aspirations regarding the project to the Cupertino City Council. The project exceeded cost and time estimations. Tragically, Steve Jobs passed away a few months into the introduction of the initial stages. The campus theatre was named after him in remembrance.

Previously, impermeable surfaces dominated the 71-hectare (175-acre) property. Apple broke ground and began tearing down existing buildings in 2014. The project took almost three years to be completed and was suitable for employee move-in. Apple’s Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive, collaborated closely with the design firm, Foster+Partners on this large project. He identified design flexibility as a significant aspect of the endeavor. Areas can be used as vast open spaces or partitioned into smaller compartments based on the needs.

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Apple Park-Sectional Elevation of the project_© https://www.cnet.com/pictures/our-first-trip-to-apples-spaceship-campus/4/

Apple’s primary campus facility, The Ring, is shaped like a giant flying saucer and is worth $4.17 billion. It employs base isolation to safeguard against earthquakes. The isolation system comprises 692 large steel saucers positioned two floors beneath. This system, a modified version of one used in Japan, will protect the campus from all but the most severe earthquakes. Large rooms with glass walls and entryways, and expansive spaces divisible into smaller portions, can be encountered on the interior. The Ring is divided into eight similar segments and surrounded by a three-quarter-mile-long passageway.

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Steve Jobs Theatre_©https://www.c3diz.net/the-steve-jobs-theater
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Apple Park-Steve Jobs Theatre_©https://www.c3diz.net/the-steve-jobs-theater

Apple Park puts people first, resulting in an ideal workplace for sustained creativity, innovation, and well-being. The ethos of the campus is Californian: open and connected to nature, and the result of a unique collaboration.The basic design of the Ring Building conceals enormous expertise and invention. It comprises a few crucial attributes: public ‘pod’ spaces for cooperation, private office spaces for concentrated work, and vast, glazed perimeter pathways with the largest sheets of curved glass ever built, allowing unbroken connection to the landscape. The Ring’s floors consist of over 4,000 slabs spanning up to 15 meters (48 feet), making it one of the most advanced precast concrete constructions in the world.

These multi-use materials, known as ‘void slabs,’ comprise the structure and exposed ceiling, contain radiant heating and cooling, and facilitate air return. Full-height atria at the eight cardinal axis points create light-filled entrance commons: communal areas that connect the park to the interior garden space. There are light wells that extend to the bottom. There are visual connections to the floors and linkages through the stairwell.

The Restaurant, a college town square, disrupts this pattern by occupying the Ring’s whole northeast axis. The quadruple height of the dining hall and outside patios stimulate interaction. The Restaurant’s northeastern facade, in particular, can be silently removed. Massive glass doors, 15 meters (50 feet) high and 55 meters (180 feet) wide glide easily on rails beneath the floor.

Numerous other structures are an important component of the Apple Park experience: The Fitness & Wellness Center is a pavilion hideaway in the scenery of Apple Park. From the south, it appears to be a pair of single-story, lightweight buildings; broad glass opens light-filled workout and therapy rooms into meadows. A juice bar located between the two volumes sells healthy drinks and snacks in a courtyard shaded by olive trees.

Apple Park-Visitor Center with cantilevered carbon fiber roof_©https://www.macrumors.com/2017/11/17/visitors-center-now-open/

Despite its formidable futuristic looks, Apple Park has embarked on a long journey of being a sculpted success, with Steve Jobs first announcing the project in 2006. It took eight long years of planning, proposals, and permit applications, but by 2014 construction was in progress. Three years later, the vast apple workforce began moving in. The gigantic ring-shaped structure has evolved into an iconic emblem of the Apple brand, as well as a magnificent tribute to the company’s commitment to a simple design, sustainability, and the future of innovation.

References –

Online sources

  • Foster (2019). Apple Park | Foster + Partners. [online] Fosterandpartners.com. Available at: https://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/apple-park/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2023].
  • Apple Insider (n.d.). Apple Park | Design, History, Layout. [online] AppleInsider. Available at: https://appleinsider.com/inside/apple-park [Accessed 10 Mar. 2023].
  • MacRumors. (2023). Apple Park Visitor’s Center Now Open to the Public. [online] Available at: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/11/17/apple-park-visitors-center-now-open/ [Accessed 15 Mar. 2023].
  • C3DIZ. (2022). The Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park, the lobby in the landscape. [online] Available at: https://www.c3diz.net/the-steve-jobs-theater-at-apple-park-by-foster-parners/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2023].

Images/visual mediums

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

  • Image 1- (URL: https://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/apple-park/)
  • Image 2- (URL: https://www.cnet.com/pictures/our-first-trip-to-apples-spaceship-campus/4/
  • Image 3- (URL: https://www.c3diz.net/the-steve-jobs-theater-at-apple-park-by-foster-parners/)
  • Image 4- (URL: https://www.c3diz.net/the-steve-jobs-theater-at-apple-park-by-foster-parners/)
  • Image 5- (URL: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/11/17/apple-park-visitors-center-now-open/)

A 4th-year student who is as fascinated by the architecture around the world as she is captivated by the words of literature. A keen observer, expanding her horizon of knowledge in the field of architecture by listening, reading and exploring.